Intentional Living

The Privilege of Being an American

I have to admit that writing this post has been difficult for me. The events of the last six months have only intensified the divide among Americans as a tiny virus has created moral battles related to vaccines and personal choice in wearing masks and the death of yet another young black man brought violence to many of our streets and neighborhoods. As we move into the last few months before the 2020 Presidential election, I have witnessed many hate-filled confrontations between friends and family over who should and shouldn’t be elected. And, my heart breaks each time I witness it. Instead of coming together on what unites us, we are divided at every corner. What saddens me most is that I believe no matter where you stand in support of Donald Trump, for, against, or indifferent, we fail to realize the distraction that politics is causing. President Trump is a symptom of a much bigger philosophical and moral shift happening in our country. If Hilary Clinton had been elected four years ago, I would say the same thing. Our unwillingness to come together, to meet each other, to empathize and see each other’s difference not as an obstacle but as a motivating force for collective good, has created a tribalist mentality bent on the destruction and elimination of the other, the enemy. This is not an establishment issue. This is not a political issue. This is not a presidential issue. This is an issue of the people, the American people. You and me, our friends, our families, our neighbors, our coworkers. It is our issue. It is our problem. 

The privilege of being an American rests in our responsibility as individuals and as a member of the collective that makes up the greatest democratic republic in history. As the Peter Parker Principle states, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Everyone has power. Some of us more than others, some in different forms. How we use that power for the greater good, is our responsibility and our privilege. Some of us, based on our power, do have a greater responsibility. A greater responsibility to start the conversation, to lead the charge to a better America.

John F. Kennedy was profoundly right when he said, “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” This is our time to make a difference. 

What makes you proud to be an American? What ways are you working to start intentional conversations with others? Please share your comments.

Contributed by Liz